Thursday, August 26, 2010

Do People Trust Dentists?

Being the dental ninja, I keep a close eye on any news stories relevant to dentistry.  Some of the more interesting or amusing  stories I pass along to you, the reader.  However, there are many news items I pass over simply because they are frustrating for me as a dental professional.  These stories usually involve my colleagues who break and abuse the trust their patients have given them.

Take this pervert or this cheapskate, for example.  It seems like once or twice each month another dentist is getting our profession the wrong kind of publicity.  Occasionally I skim through the comments posted online in reaction to these stories.  A few that stick out to me are one man claiming dentists are no better than used car salesmen and that money is the only topic discussed in continuing education meetings.  Other comments have offered dental advice, claiming that if a tooth needs a root canal you might as well pull it because those never work!  After reading enough of these you'd get the feeling that the public doesn't trust dentists as much as they used to.

Today I found a bit of reassuring news from the Baltimore Sun citing a poll done by Angie's List - a website that compiles consumer reviews of service companies. The poll showed that 80% of responders had a high level of trust in their dentists.  Also interesting was that 25% admitted they don't follow their dentists directions and 30% admitted to lying to their dentist.  (Guess what?  We know.)

While 80% is not as high as I'd like to see, it's not too shabby, especially if you consider the segment of the population who don't trust anyone!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hillary Duff's Dentist Saves the Day!

Perhaps as a testament to her compatibility with her professional hockey star hubby, Hillary Duff began her wedding day by CHIPPING a TOOTH!  She explained to OK magazine, "I started my day with a chipped tooth! My wedding planner snuck me out to the dentist! Thank goodness it was fixed within the hour." 

I'm sure the dentist didn't mind coming in early on a Saturday to be the hero.  It's emergencies like this that help make being a dentist worthwhile.  Rather than complaining that they have to see the dentist, emergency patients are typically very appreciative of what you do. 

I haven't seen any photos of what her blemished smile looked like, so here's my own artist's rendition of what Hillary Duff might look like with a chipped tooth:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Happens when you Brush your Teeth with a Bottle of Jack

Maybe she woke up in the mornin' feelin like Lil Jon.
Maybe this was a result of hitting her head against the walls. 
Either way, her judgment must be getting kind of hazy, because pop star Ke$ha recently opted for the shiny gold crown on her right maxillary canine, as reported in

Friday, August 13, 2010

Look What I Can Pull out of my Mouth

This week we'll take a look at various things passing through various mouths.

First off, as of late I've noticed a pretty cool trend in the medical field - surgeons are using the oral cavity as an entry/exit to the abdomen in general, thus avoiding those unsightly post-op abdomen scars.  Recently at UCSD, surgeons utilized NOTES (Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery) to remove a gallbladder.  Very minute incisions were still made in the abdomen for a camera and light, but the organ was removed via the mouth.

NOTES has also been used at the UCSD medical center to perform a sleeve gastrectomy.  Basically, 80% of an obese lady's stomach was removed in order to help her feel full after eating less.  My recommendation?  Just imagine 80% of your stomach being removed through your mouth right before dinner and you'll lose your appetite without having to go through this procedure. 

Read more from the LA times and

Our next story comes to us from Svalbard, which, surprisingly is NOT the name of a piece of quaint, affordable furniture from Ikea, but rather a place in Norway where Arctic explorer Sebastian Nissen recently awoke to discover his head INSIDE the mouth of a polar bear.  Gadzooks!  Either that bear was very gentle (or sneaky like a ninja) or Sebastien was a little to wasted to be off exploring the Arctic.  (Or maybe "exploring the Arctic" is just what the Norwegians call getting drunk in the wilderness).

Either way, the only insights we have into this episode are that Sebastian awoke, head in mouth, the bear then stood up, and Sebastian's friend shot the bear dead.  During the estimated 60 seconds spent inside the bear's mouth, our hero reached for his shotgun only to find that the bear had wisely snapped the weapon in half.  Again, I'm not sure if this supports the theory that the bear was a clever ninja or that Sebastian was drunk off his Ă…NES.  (That actually is a piece of furniture from Ikea). 

Story from

Lastly, here's a clip of the guy every dentist dreams about while extracting wisdom teeth or performing second-molar root canal therapy.  The guy with the flip-top head:

I could imagine this guy waking up to find his head inside of his own mouth.